In a move which will hurt the debt ridden economy of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and few other Arab world countries have removed Post Graduate Medical degree (MS (Master of Surgery) and MD (Doctor of Medicine) from the highest paid tier eligibility.
This would make thousands of Pakistani professionals who send billions of dollars to home country jobless. Saudi Arabia has already told these professionals to leave the country and warned that they will be deported if they do not follow the order.
The move was first taken by Saudi Arabia, an Islamic country which Pakistan considers valuable ally. The other countries which followed suit are Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Some other governments from Arab world might follow the same in upcoming days.
The worst embarrassment for Pakistan is that similar degrees from other South Asian nations like India and Bangladesh are accepted in Arab countries. The professionals from few other countries like Egypt and Sudan which were earlier British colonies and follow the British system of MD and MS are also accepted in Saudi Arabia.
The government told the Pakistani professionals that their qualification and expertise does not meet Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCFHS) regulations. “Your application for professional qualification has been rejected. Reason is that your master degree from Pakistan is not acceptable according to the SCFHS regulations,” reads the rejection letter.
“I had done five-year postgraduate qualification from the University of Health Sciences, Lahore, with training from Lahore General Hospital… But all of a sudden the Saudi health ministry terminated my job contract, landing me and my family in immense shock,” told Dr Ali Usman, an affected medic to Pakistani English daily Dawn.
The move will severely affect Pakistan’s economy which is already is deep trouble. Overseas Pakistani sent more than 20 billion dollars every year to homeland and this accounts for almost 8 percent of Pakistan’s 270 billion dollars GDP. In first 10 months of FY 19 (July to April), the Pakistani’s living in various countries around the world remitted 17.9 billion dollars to homeland which was 8.45 percent more than 16.9 dollars in previous year in same time period.
The majority of this remittance came from Saudi Arabia ($427.82 million), UAE ($372.43 million), GCC countries (including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman) – $175.44,million, the countries which banned the Pakistani degree or considering the same.
Previously, The United States government has reduced the visa validity for Pakistani citizens from five years to 1 year. This is big blow for Pakistan because the country gets a very good amount of remittance (372.43 million dollars in first 10 months of FY 19) from Pakistani workers in the United States. The repeated terrorist attacks from terrorist groups located in Pakistan and in many countries including India, Afghanistan, Iran and United States have forced countries to reconsider how many Pakistani’s they want in their countries.
Nowadays there is a negative perception about the professional skills of Pakistani people around the world and therefore it is very tough to find a job in any other country with a Pakistani passport. On the other hand, Indian professionals are respected across the world and the country received 79 billion dollars in remittances last year which is four times more than that of Pakistan.